Hot Tubbin’ Bees

Well, it finally got out of hand. The girls seemed to be becoming more and more enamored with my hot tub, to the point where they were practically covering it. They were sneaking in under the lid and every time I opened it up, there would be a half dozen or so floating or paddling for their dear little lives. So many had died in there and gotten stuck in the filter, that it was starting to turn the water funky. Or so I thought.

I opened up the tub to empty it, but with the top wide open, it seemd the whole hive decided it was time to go for a dip, just take a look at the picture to the left. So many were falling in while I waited that I had to stand by the side of the tub with a stick, plucking out bee after bee while the water drained, like that helicopter rescue of Air Florida Flight 90.

Anyway, I got it drained and cleaned and refilled and, wouldn’t you know it, problem solved! Suddenly, they’re not hanging around anymore. Apparently, it’s not the warm water they’re interested in but the slightly funky warm water of hundred bathed bodies. The girls have a taste for human soup! I thought I was being very careful about keeping the tub water clean, it was always clear and I’d deal quickly if there was any scent, but I guess I’ll just need to be even more so.

Hive 2 Lives!

Hive 1 has been busy spring cleaning, but Hive 2 has been sooo quiet I thought they had just plum died out. I mean, there was nothin’ goin’ on, nobody coming, nobody going.

Well, imagine my surprise to see the Hive 2 girls rubbing their eyes and sniffing the spring breeze this afternoon. There were ten or so bees out on the front stoop, a couple were beating their wings to get a breeze going through (why, I dunno…it wasn’t that hot today) and some carrying out bits of wax and debris. Much less activity than Hive 1, but activity nonetheless. But don’t think you’re fooling anyone Hive 2. You’re getting a new queen come Spring and that’s that.

On a down note, there seem to be quite a few bees out in the grass just sitting there. I don’t really know what that’s about, but it doesn’t seem like a good sign. I poked at ’em and then move, but they don’t fly. Their wings seem to be in good repair, so it’s not Varroa, I don’t think. There’s a fair amount of bee diarrhea in the grass, as well. Maybe it’s Nosema. OK, time to put in that Fumigil syrup after all.

When I was poking around in the grass, I came across the critter you see below. Definitely not a honey bee, but it was just sitting all sedentary-like with the rest of the girls. Maybe they’ve been smoking weed.

Spring cleaning

Did a quick exterior check today. I noticed that Hive 1 has a big build-up of a dry sandy mix of garbage that they’re moving out. It looks like a mixture of pollen, wax, mold and the like that they’re cleaning out of the cells in preparation for the spring brood. Good to see they’re back on track after I let them live in a swampy mess for the winter.

I gave ’em a bit of a hand, too. I moved the entrance reducer block and used a stick to sweep out the garbage that was building up behind it. I imagined myself a cleaning wonder to them: what would have taken them all day to clean, I swept out in a moment! All hail wonderful Jordan! Bzzzzz!

I didn’t end up putting the Nosema syrup on the hives, after all, but it looks like it’s clearing up on its own, so I may just leave well enough alone.

Of medicine and hot tubs

I mixed up some medicine to treat the girls’ Nosema tonight. 1 tsp Fumigilin-B to 1 c. cool water, then mixed that into a gallon of sugar syrup, and that into 1 qt mason jars. I’m a bit worried, though, that if I just put the sugar syrup in the top feeder I’ve been using, they won’t find it. For certain sure, Hive 2 won’t, they don’t go anywhere near their top chamber, which is chock full of honey, and Hive 1 seems content to stick to their bottom chamber, as well. Perhaps a call to Beez Neez is in order. I’ll put it up top before I leave for work tomorrow and see what happens. If they haven’t touched it by the weekend, I’ll see about switching to a front feeder.

The bees have been very odd around the hot tub, lately. Every time I get in or out during the day (which, I’m pleased to say, is quite often), there are always six or seven of them hovering around, eager to land on the edge and dip their little probiscuses (probisci?) into the condensation around the edge. It’s dry for a while, but it’s Seattle, after all, so not that dry. They always liked to drink from the edge of the tub, but I don’t remember them being quite so excited as they are about it now. Well, I won’t get too worried until I see them start to sport little gold chains and talk about swinging.